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This Guy Plays Notre Dame Football: #35 Donté Vaughn

Talented. Tall. Intimidating. Donté Vaughn will challenge for one of the starting cornerback jobs this year.

NCAA Football: Miami at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Today, our “This Guy” series profiles Donté Vaughn of Memphis, Tenn., a sophomore cornerback on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Vaughn, who wore #35 last year, played in 10 games as a freshman. The 6-foot-2 1/2, 209 pound defensive back recorded 22 tackles (13 solo, 9 assisted), broke up six passes and picked off one pass on the season.

3 Things To Know About Donte Vaughn

  1. His favorite guilty pleasure on television is “Spongebob SquarePants.” [ND Insider 2016 football preview]
  2. Vaughn attended Whitehaven High School, whose athletics department has its own hashtag, #RespectTheHaven. Vaughn and his fellow defensive players offered no safe haven for opposing offenses during his senior season. They gave up only 13.6 points per game in 2015.
  3. Vaughn was born on a Sunday in October. Among players on the 2016 roster, only six were born on the Lord’s Day — the fewest of any day of the week. However, 11 players were born in October, which was the most frequent month (tied with September). Vaughn, 19, is the third oldest sophomore on the team.

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“With Duke driving and facing third-and-4 from the Irish 32 late in the third quarter, Vaughn ran stride-for-stride with the Blue Devils receiver and turned around at the right moment, picking off Daniel Jones' pass in the front right corner of the end zone for a touchback. The score was tied 28-piece at that moment.” - Scott DeCamp,

I, andrewwinn, Dub Thee...

Donté Vaughn, The Barbarous Beanstalk of the Backfield.

Army v Notre Dame Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

2017 Forecast

Vaughn, who was slowed by back spasms this spring, will likely start fall camp as a backup to fellow sophomore Julian Love at the field corner (wide side of the field) position.

At almost 6-foot-3, Vaughn would be among the 10 tallest cornerbacks if he were suiting up in the NFL. (Think a wee bit smaller than the Seattle SeahawksRichard Sherman and a smidge taller than the Cincinnati BengalsDre Kirkpatrick.) His strength is his length; Vaughn can use his height to regain ground lost due to technique deficiencies and break up jump ball passes that usually favor receivers.

The knock on Vaughn so far is that he is not consistent. His technique can look unrefined at times. Surely, some of that is mental -- and it doesn’t make it any easier that Love really has looked crisp this spring.

There’s no question this former four-star recruit is either the most talented or among the most talented corners on the team. Vaughn will have a legitimate shot to overtake Love for the starting job. He was thrust into that role against the Syracuse Orange last year, before the coaches started chipping away at his playing time. He was consistently on-field against the service academies after breaking up three passes in 32 snaps against the Miami-Florida Hurricanes, but played just 27 snaps against the Virginia Tech Hokies and 16 snaps against the USC Trojans to close out the year.